Hours before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, the Minnesota Timberwolves engaged in a blockbuster deal with the Golden State Warriors, sending Andrew Wiggins and multiple future draft picks to the Bay Area in exchange for D’Angelo Russell. The move was necessary for the Timberwolves to keep the face of the franchise, Karl-Anthony Towns, happy, especially now that they are once again on the verge of suffering another disappointing season. But it turned out that the deal also greatly benefits the Warriors.
Aside from receiving future draft picks and addressing the logjam in their backcourt, the Warriors also acquired a player who is a better fit with their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. In a recent appearance on KNBR 680, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Wiggins would be a “positional fit” on their roster and would immediately fill the “big hole” at the small forward position.
“It’s a positional fit when we’re healthy,” Kerr said, as quoted by NBC Sports Bay Area. “The big hole in the roster really is at the three. Wings are really hard to come by — both in the draft and in free agency. Positionally, this makes a lot of sense. Wiggins is an electric athlete and we want to play fast. He’s gonna be on the wing — we’re gonna try to push the ball ahead — and we’re gonna ask him to sprint the wing every time down the floor. He’s got the length and the speed to fill that role as a small forward. There’s a lot to like.”
In Minnesota, the expectations were high for Wiggins. From the time he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Wiggins was expected to be one of the players who would lead the Timberwolves to title contention and bring home the first Larry O’Brien Trophy to Minnesota. Now that he’s in Golden State, Kerr said that they aren’t planning to put the same pressure on Wiggins.
While the Timberwolves wanted him to immediately turn into a legitimate NBA superstar, Kerr revealed that Wiggins’ role with the Warriors would be entirely different. With the presence of Curry and Thompson on their roster, Kerr wants Wiggins to play a certain role that would increase their chances of winning games. Instead of thinking about his individual statistics, Kerr envisions Wiggins as the type of role player that would bring energy to their team and would commit defensively.
Though he’s only expected to be the third or fourth scoring option in Golden State, the deal would also be beneficial for Wiggins. Being in a new environment would enable him to have a fresh start and find the right path to becoming a legitimate superstar in the league.